The Holidays are over. Decorations have been taken down, memories stored and it’s time to start thinking that hopefully all the winter snow, sleet, hail, freezing and future flooding from all that sleet, snow, hail and freezing will be gone in a few weeks. It’s time to start planning for horsecamping and trail riding but in the mean time, plan some projects that will help around camp or on the trail and ones you’ve been thinking about but just haven’t done because believe it or not, spring will spring and summer will not be far behind.......promise!!
One of the most helpful projects one can accomplish without a lot of cost or work are ‘chocks’. Chocks are wooden blocks that go behind and/or in front of trailer tires. You can even put ‘em in back of or in front of the towing vehicle’s tires. Putting a chock in front of a tire will keep the trailer from moving forward. Putting a chock behind a tire will keep it from moving backwards. Where a chock is placed is helpful when it comes to parking on a slight incline, uneven ground or even on a hilly slope!
Some horses get a little spooky when going into or out of a trailer. It can be because the trailer is ‘moving’ in their mind. When they step in, the trailer moves a little forward. Coming out, it can seem to be lurching as the horse backs out, shifts weight to hindend and ‘pushes’ out with front legs. The reason is because the tires aren’t ‘solid’ in one place so the trailer rocks.
To eliminate trailer movement, make some chocks and then toss ‘em in your tack compartment. Always put things you’ll need or are required in the tack compartment because you may not always use the same towing vehicle. But if things are in the tack compartment, they’re always WITH the trailer.
You can buy chocks. In plastic. Or wood. Or use an old brick or piece of wood one finds laying around the trailhead. But I like my own! And mine were cheaper to make than I could buy since I used an old post for one chock and an end from another post for the second chock. Plus, I don’t have to walk around a trailhead looking for a rock or brick or something to use as a chock – just pull ‘em out of the tack compartment.
To make chocks, use a 6 by 6 inch post about 24 inches long. Check around your barn or with friends, someone might even have an old broken off fence post that can be cut down to chock length – about 10 – 12 inches long. Next, cut the piece so there’s a slope on one end as shown in the picture. You want the chock to fit behind or in front of a tire snuggly with a good slope on it so the tire won’t just roll up, onto and over the chock.
If you wanta be fancy and not have to bend over so far to pull the chock out, drill a one inch hole through the chock on the length. Then stick a piece of rope through the hold. Pull it out, over the chock and tie the rope ends together. Notice in the picture, the one chock without a rope through it would be harder to pull out from under the tire. The one with the rope you can just slide your boot toe under the rope and pull it out!!
To keep from FORGETTING your chocks, paint ‘em. Everything one has for camping should be white, blue, green, red, yellow – nothing brown or black. Why? You’ll forget it. Bright colors are seen! Even though you’ll walk around a campsite before heading out, you can still not see a brown blanket or halter hanging on a fence post or over a corral fence. I know. I’ve got a brown horse blanket up in a Trinity Alps horsecamp that one of these days I’m going back to get!
Horse Expo Pomona, California will open its equestrian events, exhibits, displays, clinician presentations and a whole bunch of vendors at Fairplex in Pomona, California on Friday, January 30th thru February 1st!! I’ll be presenting “Horsecamping” daily at 2 pm so be sure to stop by and say ‘hello’. And pick up a FREE copy of daily handouts and information for subscribing to The Trail Rider magazine. Each day we’ll talk about a different subject for horse camping – Friday, “Horsecamping – here! there! & everywhere!”; Saturday, “Pack it, stash it & store it” and Sunday, “On The Road Again.......”. If you want more information, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, call me at (510) 299-5215 or check out the Pomona Horse Expo website for a COMPLETE list of all the happenings.......see ya in Pomona!
Bonnie & Nic